Former Kmart in Latham to become rock climbing gym, dog daycare – Albany Business Review – The Business Journals

Bill Lia is taking the next steps toward converting the former Kmart on Route 2 in Latham into a destination for entertainment, sports, dining and more.
Lia has signed leases with a rock climbing gym and a “doggie daycare” to fill a portion of the 130,000-square-foot building between Vent Fitness on one corner and The Scarlet Knife, a farm-to-table restaurant being built at the opposite corner.
Philadelphia Rock Gym will have its first New York location, filling 15,000 square feet. Dogtopia, a franchise with more than 300 locations in the U.S., will occupy 6,500 square feet.
Lia also has a signed letter of intent for the next location of The Bunker Golf Lounge and Sports Bar, which would occupy 7,000 square feet between the restaurant and rock climbing gym.
One tenant that doesn’t need visibility from the heavy traffic along Route 2 has committed to lease 3,000 square feet in the rear — Convergence Craft, which produces malted barley for craft breweries.
“We’ve had a lot interest, and seen a lot of activity,” said Lia, whose family owns the Vent Fitness chain, car dealerships, two BurgerFi franchises, an insurance brokerage and commercial real estate.
Negotiations are continuing with the owners of The Bunker Golf Lounge and Sports Bar, which has indoor golf simulators in Guilderland and Clifton Park, with plans for others in North Greenbush and New Hartford in Oneida County. There’s also a single-bay golf simulator inside the Vent Fitness.
Discussions are underway with prospective tenants to fill the remaining 20,000 square feet in front; 10,000 square feet on the west side; and a few smaller spaces in the rear. One potential deal appears to have fallen through.
“We’re trying to be selective about our tenants,” he said.
Lia and his team are working with Dennis Rigosu of SRA Architects in Clifton Park on designs for new facade, storefronts and a new pylon digital sign. There will also be a new name for the retail plaza.
MR2 Construction Services LLC of Burnt Hills has been the hired as the general contractor for the initial phases of the renovations.
The Lias bought the 12-acre parcel at 195 Troy Schenectady Road in 2017 for $1.76 million, three years after Kmart closed. They later built an addition to accommodate a 50,000-square-foot Vent Fitness, which opened in 2019.
Coming out the pandemic, a lease was signed with the owner of a new farm-to-table restaurant, The Scarlet Knife, which will occupy 15,000 square feet for indoor dining and 4,000 square feet outdoors.
A soft-opening was anticipated by May, but that has been pushed back to September partly due to equipment delivery delays, Lia said.
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